UNSEEN aka The Hilma af Klint story

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 7.53.06 PMI’ve been trying for months to get producers in Hollywood to pay attention to Hilma af Klint. Hollywood establishment pays attention to male artists  – but the founding mother of modern art, a woman who claimed to have been commissioned by a spirit on the astral plane and who devoted much of her life to the creation of work that had to remain hidden…  Let’s just say if Hilma were a man, there’d be ten movies about her by now.

Have a look at my teaser.


Then read the script if you like. Make some noise. Let’s get this thing made.


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Solnit on Silence

Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 1.32.18 PMSilence is the ocean of the unsaid, the unspeakable, the repressed, the erased, the unheard. It surrounds the scattered islands made up of those allowed to speak and what can be said and who listens.

Silence is imposed vs quiet which is sought.

“We are volcanoes, when we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change.” Ursula K. Le Guin

If our voices are essential aspects of our humanity, to be rendered voiceless is to be dehumanized or excluded from one’s humanity. 

The history of silence is central to women’s history.

Liberation is always in part a storytelling process: breaking stories, breaking silences, making new stories. A free person tells her own story. A valued person lives in a society in which her story has a place. 

Who has been heard we know; they are the well-mapped islands, the rest are the unmappable sea of unheard, unrecorded humanity. 

If libraries hold all the stories that have been told, there are ghost libraries of all the stories that have not. The ghosts outnumber the books by some unimaginably vast sum.

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Notes on Narrative and Identity

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 12.29.10 PMNarrative construction of reality – the ways in which we construct narratives in order to bolster our world view (Didion/We tell ourselves stories to survive).

Narratives that support the arc of inspiration –

Insecure people have an ability to upset balance.

Dramatic Pentad: An agent – An act – A scene – a purpose – An agency.

When the ratio between elements becomes unbalanced trouble ensues. Trouble provides the engine of drama.

Everyone has their own version of the narrative

Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity

The Narrative Construction of Reality by Jerome Bruner

Paradox in the context of complex emotional clarity.

Integrity: Courage to tell the truth as you see it.

Promethean Power: To create something that never existed before.

The tension between being and becoming (is where the story usually sits).

“The gaze” to claim power over the many dimensions of sight and seeing.

Drucker: Theory of female pleasure that can emerge from production. Laying claim to the marvelous, entering the space of meaning, the right of vision, clairvoyance and agency. 

Women are the “Silent bearers” of ideology in Western literature. Women have made the “necessary sacrifice to male secularity” which finds its expression in materialist, public activity in a world that cannot – indeed will not – accommodate a woman of action.

Male action/personal fulfillment requires: Selfishness, hardness, ingratitude.

The duty of women is to live for others. Those who indulge their ambition often grapple with self-loathing.  Male action stereotypes the majority and silences the rest. Result for women is anxiety of authorship.

To paint, to write, to think — is to take authority.

The woman who moves, who acts, who copes with vicissitudes and seeks adventure is the minority.

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Evolution of God

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Even in the ultimate Abrahamic theological refinement – monotheism itself turns out to be a feature of the bible that comes and goes.

Edward Tylor – founder of Social Anthropology.

Early religion: Did what good theories are supposed to do; explain otherwise mysterious facts economically.

Radcliffe-Brown observed that Andaman Islanders were reluctant to awaken people, since illness might ensue if sleep was interrupted before the soul came home.

Human nature has two basic innate mechanisms that incline us to treat people nicely: Kin Selection – evolutionary dynamic that leads us to sacrifice for close relatives. Reciprocal Altruism – leads us to be considerate of friends.

Hunter- gatherer religions don’t consider their beliefs to be a religion. Rituals and beliefs we label as ‘religious’ are so tightly interwoven into their every day thought and action that they don’t even have a word for them.

The general absence of moral sanction in hunter gatherer religion isn’t puzzling. They lived in intimate transparent groups (30-50 people). Wrongdoing was hard to conceal – and this is how we are hard wired to live.

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Narrative Fallacy

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We like stories and we like to summarize. We also like to simplify and reduce.

Our vulnerability to over interpretation and our predilection for compact stories over raw truths, severely distorts our mental representation of the world – particularly acute during the rare event (i.e. Black Swan)

Information wants to be reduced. Explanations bind facts together and help things to make sense – but this is where it goes wrong because it increases our impression of understanding.

Problems of Induction: We must examine what can be inferred about the Unseen; what lies OUTSIDE the information set – then we must look at the Seen.

We can get closer to the truth by examining negative instances vs. observed facts.

What you don’t know is far more relevant than what you do know.

The very nature of randomness lies in its abstraction.

Avoid learned philistines: They are the blue collars of the thinking business.

When dealing with uncertainty – the worst thing you can do is to FOCUS.

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Hilma af Klint.

193 abstract paintings divided into groups and subgroups making reference to contemporary developments in the world of science and religion.

Codes and Symbols: Logarithmic spirals and tendrils represent evolution. The letter U stands for spiritual world. W= Matter. Overlapping discs signify unity (creation and invisibility of genetics). Yellow roses= masculinity. Blue+lilies=femininity. Green=blue+yellow+ male or female/good or evil.

Themes: Duality, the pursuit of an original oneness. Reconciliation of divisions. Reduction and purification. No traditional narratives.

“they portray the astral plane in color and form”     “Systemic visualizations of complex philosophical ideas and spiritual notions”    “Imagery intended to lead the viewer to other levels of awareness.”  “… to glimpse another universe”

She had no lobby, no market, no internal support, no collections, no museums directories — she hid her work. As if it was one big thought experiment and yet in her journals she openly describes herself as a pioneer.


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Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees

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Notes: Explication of presence – the process of making something clear. How we experience something is what makes art.

Awareness of perception – they don’t so much lead one to the next as they fold one inside the other; like the process of thinking.

Art is about the aesthetic perception of the viewer. The way the sun strikes a building at a particular time of day can be art.

Old values – humanistic values – don’t speak to presence/perception. (check out Karsten Harries: Metaphor and transcendence.

Consider – the mechanics of the tape. The act of viewing and being viewed.

The essence of the modernist work is experience.

Change is the most basic dynamic of our universe – our spaces need to do more to create acceptance of this.

Not about existential angst – but phenomenological wonder. WOW! A desert of pure feeling. Visual music unfurling thematic material across time.

It’s about becoming NOT being.

We are talking about the exploration of the 4th dimension – not TIME but EXPERIENCE and quality. This is Modernism.  And it’s not only about emotion – it also includes texture, experience quality and the feel of things.

Setting in motion your own meaning – we take responsibility for everything.

Presence demands presence. Metaphor requires absence and evasion. Modernism eliminates the metaphor (if it’s a metaphor you experience abstractions through it). Reduction of Imagery gets at physicality and reduction of metaphor gets at presence.

Sculpture definition: Must have physical division; both organic and geometric; participation of people and kinetics of movement.

To be present in the world has far reaching implications for art and life. The whole visual structure of how we look at the world… that process has built our culture – its social systems, political systems. All our institutions are reflections of the way our mind organizes.

The modernist strives to create a different mental organization – which ultimately in time – has to result in different social, political and cultural organizations.

Artists are the only people trained to make the argument for quality.


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